In 2019, Songulashvili was artist in residence in Singapore, where he realized a multimedia solo project named “Stoicheîon 金星”. The show presented two monumental video installations and a selection of Japanese-ink paintings at the Objectifs – a centre for photography and film, Chapel Gallery.
“Asian culture and the pulse of the future served as an inspiration for my multimedia project that evolves around vital elements of life,” says the artist of his latest works.
The term Stoicheion (στοιχεῖον/stoicheîon; the etymological derivation of the term is from the Latin elementum, first documented in the sense of “constituent component” or “basis” in Plato) was in Classical antiquity fundamentally linked to the classical theory of the four elements. In European cultural history, the term “elements” denotes the four basic substances: Earth, Water, Air and Fire. The philosophical concept of Stoicheîon 金星 denotes the basic components or the foundations of Being.
“The population of Singapore is made up of Chinese, Malaysians and Indian people, whose ancestors belonged to a centuries-old culture. Yet today it represents a hypermodern city-state forming a new history. Subsequently, my multimedia project is not presented in a historical context, but rather represents the synthesis of a traditional Asian medium and modern technologies.”
The exposition is housed in a building of a former church, that at present serves as a hub of modern art, a photography and cinema center and a gallery, the environment of which became an organic part of the entire concept of the exhibition.
“The artworks for this project are done with ink and paper. Ink is my inseparable friend and I have used it for years in my many artworks, while the technique of working on paper is a common and widely used practice in the Eastern culture. So I decided to symbolically use this technique to mark my first visit to Asia. The paintings made within the frames of Stoicheîon 金星 are done using brushes made of fur of wolf, horse and goat.”
“In order to get better acquainted with a new environment and place, during my first week I usually stroll on the streets without direction and get lost within the noise of the city. Then I talk to the locals, observe and study their body language; human beings as well as other objects in this world carry lots of information and energy. Then I go to the studio where both time and space disappear and I become part of the infinity. The information in my mind and new feelings merge and transform into a creative process.
The time I spent in Asia was really important for me as, apart from this project, it helped me discover a previously unknown part of myself which has a direct influence on my art.”
STOICHEÎON 金星 represents an attempt to understand the bewilderingly great multiplicity of the natural world as combinations of a limited number of elements. Inspired by the culture, visual artistry and techniques of Asian ink paintings in Singapore, Songulashvili combined his experiences with his main focus on air, water and earth, as well as Earth’s sister terrestrial planet, Venus, which rotates in the opposite direction to most other planets and where the Sun rises in the west and sets in the east.